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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  July 26, 2009 11:30pm-12:00am EDT

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and a quote chris of canada is the table host pitchers of her children, grandchildren and great brands. a pictorial history of our family. one pitcher set out in the middle of the table and it tested silver frame there was a cbs color photo of a little boy that lived about two years old. smiling with tiny taste he had lively teddy bear brown eyes and dark skin the color of hair. he looks happy, like he didn't have a care in the world. branagh, who is this asset pick up the pitcher to inspect a closer? to said as she reached for her glasses. but before i show the picture for to her id dawned on me that the lowboy in the photo was made. i stood transfixed paris looking at the picture and wondering if i would ever really that happy and if so if i could ever be that happy again in many ways
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writing changed my life. it is my hope and sharing my experience will give hope to others who are learning to deal with their difference. i want them to know they don't have to live their lives in a permanent don't ask don't tell existence. truth is a powerful healing to. my hope for this book doesn't stop there. i think there is a message here for anyone who has ever suffered from lack of self-esteem, felt the pain of loneliness or sought love in the wrong places. the lessons i have learned are not limited to race, gender or sexual orientation. anyone can learn from my journey. anyone can overcome a broken heart. this story, my story is a voice of simply seeking joy in being human. and sharing my story is my hope
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that readers will see glasses of their own lives and then bring about their own happiness by living one day at a time discovering their true passion and realizing that every life is a story worth telling. this is my story. i'm going to skip around because you know i'd like to read along with may. i am not a real long. [laughter] i am trying some different things because when i first read is to read this memoir and i have been on tour since the book came out of every person that are really sad and what is different about this memoir than with my fishing in the past was when i read my fix and i never really knew how the room looked or how the people looked because i had made them up and they could always look any way they wanted to but when i read this
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this is stuff that really actually happen and became very difficult because every time i read that part and read that part of have to relive that part of my life. then i realize halfway to the tour there were some funny person the book and i could read them and be just as cheerful rather than reading it the more difficult parts which you can read in the privacy of your home. interestingly enough this was my high school reunion weekend, i won't say which one, it is not 20 and is not 50. [laughter] so you can pick in between, i don't need anybody to tell. if you graduated from home be quiet. you can figure it out anyway. i've told everything. when the time came for me to enter high school i left the neighborhood and venture into the unfamiliar. instead of attending the historic little rock central high which was within walking distance of my house and was on my class is from west side would be attending, i decided to attend hall high. it opened and closed in 1957. it was closed by orders by then governor after the national guard came to little rock to
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protect the brain and non students who had essential in 1957. rather than allow that riddle rock nine as they became known to attend central, governor falwell or and if the capital city close hall high was a modern brick building located in a wealthy section of west little rock. never the beautiful mansions in the shadows of general brolin hills. within moments of more than 1500 in 1970 it was one of the larger schools in the state though the majority enrollment was less than 5%. for the first time i was surrounded by the white folks on television, the ones i expected that one side. i was able to attend hall because of the program implemented by the school board called freedom of choice which allow blacks in students attend school or they were and minority and that meant all the city's high schools were open to black students. the once all black high-school, the one of black high school the
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much love was being face added incident and roll, sophomore class in the fall of 1970. when i entered hall for the first day of class i didn't know what to expect. still with a mixture of joy and self consciousness i wondered whether i have it the right kind of clothes and shoes, with vicodin, i didn't ever remember seeing some of the white people in one place and being so close to them. [laughter] i talk a little bit about an election there, but my days at paul were good days and interestingly enough some of my nieces and nephews have attended hall and i don't think it freedom of choice is now the majority is blackmun. when i left the university of arkansas and i went to art for ibm and interesting how i got the job because i did a whole lot of things are wrong in terms of stress and i refer the first
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time i went to interview. dave: had on is whether because i didn't know anything about ibm. they basically wanted to talk to african-american students and i remember when they asked me what i knew about ibm and i said they made typewriters and so i thought that was all i really knew. so the guy who interviewed me told me about the tests i have to take in his home and you are a liberal arts major and are going to do well on the test but in any way and maybe we will introduce you to people in the province of is and so i went into this has ever felt the pressure because it's only evidence you well on that. the next morning about 730am and the guy who had given me the test called again and he said in committee was in shock and said to me in all the years i have been giving this as i have never seen a negro since chris high. he said i don't remember any white students scoring this high and he said we would like you to
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come to work for us at ibm and i said that a probably be a lot of fun, but i don't think i will take the job and he said what an asset because i don't want to work in little rock. i know that there is a whole brave new world out there and i was intending to go to law school and he said average you want to work. i said dallas because many new i was cheering for the razorbacks in every game we played was in texas so we would stop in dallas so it was the city i was familiar with so this emmy to dallas to interview and i wore a black navy blue suits and a black shirt and i have my caller open and had a gold chain on the. [laughter] i have an afro from here to next year. still they hired me. the first day i went in there i wore a gray pin-striped suits that had a shine to its. [laughter] in hand lapels almost as big as an assured i have on now. in a clip on tie and a pink
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shirt. my manager called me in in said the white, have you ever heard of a brooks brothers, and i said noaa. he said in an we are going to give you in the vance and we want you to go to this or called brooks brothers and we don't want you to leave until you have spent all of the money. [laughter] one he said when you get home permit the suits. [laughter] so i had a lot sooner and not learn. i guess you say they didn't tease me a lot about fashion but i continues to learn lessons because i had an african american it manager and he was more like a father and brother, i learned some valuable lessons of that i think anybody can learn from in the first-class when i phoned the first class and never felt anything i have worked so hard for. it was that i learned that it does between allowing room for both failure and success because i was devastated.
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failure devastates a lot of people but the lessons you need to learn about it you treat both of them the same when, neither one of them can disappoint you or devastates you like it did for me that time. but this is a funny story and it think a lot of you can appreciate this. leon had become more than a manager, he was almost like a father or brother. when i made mistakes to point them out. like how a black man hoping to make in corporate america has to give up something once considered important. i had cut my huge afro that i had the support for several years and was wearing my hair short. in the south jerry curls were appearing on the horizon. one friday when i jump in the barber's chair to get a chance she suggested i try jerry curl. i was came despite the life that most of the women i knew he the jerry curls on men and call the man who wore them alabama which meant really country. she convinced me to may
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microsoft natural and people would think it was my natural hair. never mind the fact that they had never seen groce on my head before. when she finished i thought i looked good. damn, eyelets grey to. when i was too happy hour that evening some people whom i was familiar with all asking what i had done to my hair. but i said it looks good. i spent a great deal of the weekend looking in the mirror and spring my special activated tuesday my curls with me. on monday i arrived at work under the impression i looked fabulous. my white co-worker knew something was different but seemed afraid to ask. i took my seat at my desk which was located on the front row directly in front of the branch minister's office and the branch manager was a dead ringer for a young ronald reagan. he watched by my office and did a double take. a few minutes later my phone rang and he asked me to come to
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his office or immense. before as the proceeds he asked me, what did you do your hair? and i got a jerry girl i said proudly. as a testament greasy saturated curl. leon had a blank expression on his face, a few seconds later he said the hair cut has ago. when i asked him why he said that my hair cut would it work in this type of environment, when i demanded to know why he told me that he wasn't going to argue with me but that his supervisor called him and asked him what the hell i had done to my hair. when i ask him if the branch managers all the white boys what to do with their hair he said i'm not telling you that you have to get your hair cut but i will say this is one of your first big career decisions. i love that leon with his naturally curly hair, he didn't understand, was ibm mannesmann try to make me like them? i have changed my dress, i've laughed at the cornyn jokes over lunch, i even asked some of my co-workers some questions about
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what it was like being black and then had a few drinks. now the return to tell me what to do it my hair. i told him i wouldn't do it and he suggested as a the rest of the day off to think about after i left the office my in your continued and all i did think about was finding a good lawyer is suing ibm for discrimination. i called one of my new friends who work for southwestern bell and in a manager position in and told him what had happened. when he didn't take my side and agree with leon i began to rethink my position. it may be can and liam had a point -- and i was going to work in corporate america than i was close to have to play by their rules. i had played by the rules of my fraternity and other organizations while in college and this was pretty much the same thing like some kind of a unicorn. i thought about for a couple more hours and then iran to my car and returned to the scene of the hair crime. [laughter] when i got there i discovered my barber was taking the day off and i was relieved, she has seen
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so proud of our efforts here and i jumped into the first of the chair and his threat to the barber to cut it off. when i return to work leon gave me please and smiled, waved at me and said, i think your future and ibm is going to be just fine. so that was --. [laughter] in the end i talk about one of the most difficult parts was riding in the epilogue if you will because one of the things that i decided i would not do is i would not publish this book and i would not finish its until i can say that i was in the midst of a happy ending and since nothing is sending about my life or about my career i can happily say that the things are really going wonderful for me, every day gets better, every day is like a new adventure for me. and so i was wanting to find a way to tell you that because
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have to read this some of the my say what is going on, it never seemed like that. so i took great care with writing the epilogue. my godson and one of my best friends lived in houston so i went to visit them trying to look for some inspiration to finish up the book and this was maybe four months ago. and i said on unlovely monday evening vanessa, sean demise sissons i arrive at the hunt is for dinner. i am anxious to catch up with my friends and show them the cover of my memory, something am quite proud of. their house was a sprawling brick, a well manicured yard and looks like the perfect for just for the tv taxables if they lived in houston and i mean this in a good way. it when tracy looked even more beautiful than when she was a new york model many years before. her mother and and married life obviously agree with her. i can't believe that she and david have been married for more than 16 years and when i walk into the foyer i can feel a that
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the house this ill will with love. porter in calhoun have gone into christian man and i was very moved when they provided sean who was still a toddler upstairs to their room to play. over dinner we talk and laugh about old times his seems like only yesterday and we've done the same thing in their dallas home. just as we are finishing the first chorus david countries whose husband comes home. david and i had met when i was an intern at ibm and off he was serving as president 11. i knew when i met him he would be successful at whenever he pursued and david has not disappointed. we hugged and talk about our tennis game and then davis of the list was the cover of my memoirs, here's the title and says, this sounds so sad that. in i know david is concerned because he has been privy to the hard times in my life but i look of him and say proudly and
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truthfully, david, but it is not, this story has a happy ending. and it does. when i rode invisible life i thought i had written it for me, but several days the earlier i talked to my editor jim hill, she suggested that maybe my dream of writing was connected to someone else that maybe someone was waiting for me to read my books so that life can be changed. janet learned about this idea and the bible said a group and even though it sounded unusual adverse, maybe there was some truth in it to. i started to think about nearly 10 years after writing in visible light maybe when janis said was to appear, i follow my team and have a bridge to write in visible light a store that no one has yet dared right in the early 1990's. baby lives had been there rich and who is transformed, at the time i didn't do her writing invisible live as an act of courage but rather as a way to escape a place of a deep pain.
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but in the aftermath of invisible life and my seven other novels, nothing has changed more than my own life. by julie embracing free i have never been ashamed of my faith, my family and my friends. today i'm thriving in the world that over a decade ago and did not want to be a part of. i have remained prayerful and thank both of my journey here and i prayed before i start each book, before i get on a plane to go to an engagement and before i stand at a podium. during the early years of my career as a writer i gave of things i was thought i needed like liquor and sex so i could follow my jeans and one day look myself in the mirror and smile like the lowboy on the front of this book. and that is what i do and that is what i wrote this book. [applause]
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questions? i think they told you that you have to come to the microphone or he will come to you. unwed who. >> what part of the book was the most difficult for you? >> the beginning the beginning because i knew i had to get the best seven out of the way. the beginning. southwick that was set. >> as one of your loyal fans i think i've read every printed word you have ever written, i am kind of torn about german mark because of the sadness and the many painful experiences you have to have them to live through but i ask myself what to be the man you are today and the writer you are today had not lived those things?
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how to those things of which you in how to think they've contributed to e. lynn harris the writer? >> i think i can honestly and truthfully say that i would not change a thing about my life. i think all those experiences to tell me to become a better writer and i went in word and when you go in and as a child or a person you tend to create a world where you feel safe and that is really what i do when i read my novels so i think that topanga the experiences have all been good fodder for the novels and they have also been an example for me to now live the life that i have always wanted to live. i think some times we let our childhood for who are adults hodes in a way of getting rid of it is saying that happens move on and move forward.
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>> how has the honesty and your relationship with her family? >> my family has supported me the matter what, they subordinate when going through all this out so i don't think it changes anything in it anything but my mother and my sisters has to read this along with you guys for the first time and just like you and just like them i'm sure it was difficult for them to rebuild this was my life. this was my view of my life and i could go into what anybody was quick to think, and i had done that i would have never ridden it to. >> it is so nice to have come this this sense and i am wondering if you have been contacted by any of your siblings mentioned in the memoirs is writing this? >> no, when i was doing a lot of
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the research is interesting you can find a lot about people who are dead and so it was easy to find information about my father and his birth certificate, his family and where they came from, it came from union, south carolina and there are a lot of them down there. maybe that is something, i don't feel incomplete by not knowing them, but someday i may intend to do that because i intend to write for a nonfiction and that may be in a goal that i always wanted brothers an impact as you have them i just don't know them. the good thing was to tell of the records they were not said that because of a rented the would be a record and that record you can access, if someone is alive is not as easy to access their information. >> you have another 40 are 50 years to live, and use yourself writing another memoir because it seems like you have only just begun?
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>> mayak angelo has written six. [laughter] i think i have at least one more i think. and i start this book when invisible life started to take off because my life right now is a term life. it is a wonderful life and you have to figure out how to read that without sounding like you're bragging so to speak. my aunt told me once when i will talk about how things are changing in my life was changing and going wonderful and i had this nervousness about it my all and tomorrow and that could have into it and she said to me you took a bad night have to take the good and so that is what i am doing. any more questions? >> what advice which you give to an aspiring novelist?
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>> well, i would tell you or anybody who is aspiring to rise to be is a novelist or a nonfiction, that you must be passionate about it because of this can be a difficult job here and if it is a job. i don't look at this as a job, and look for to each day, this is something impassive about and i think to be a successful novelist you have to have a story that only you can tell and a half to be so bothered, your life becomes confused because you i'm writing this story. inouye simply have to tell it and have to go into its thinking that uav the only one who ever read that novel and simply wish for the bass. >> i really like to ask what is next on your list but you seem to flow well and have such an inside here broken developments. have you ever considered a children's book?
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>> you know, i am writing a young adults both in the kind of in conflict now because i'm writing a book that is based in little rock about a little boy 14, and you always ask me about my fiction, if it is my life. i can almost tell you that is never going to be my life in novels, it is a reversal in the book i'm working on in the young adult book life is wholly different from mine and now that mine it is out there and public record people will be able to realize that as him. when he was a little boy growing up he will be able to tell his life was different from mine. i thought about really writing with a young book a test by having godsend who is adopted and his mother when he was five months old used to write me these letters from him. saying what was going on like
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all of the shots and the new house and i thought this would be two to talk about adoption and a black baby because she had tried desperately to have a baby and i'm the one to said may be a baby is already here. no permit is found to have been given that i could perfect match. what we. >> he walks in and to end have now rubbing his eyes and what have you. because we had woken up from talking and will have to and he wanted to be a round his godfather and naturally he favors me when rivers on the cover of the book and he said who is that and he said that is john. [laughter] >> i have two questions, one is in your acknowledgement i was curious as to why you left out a
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leges fi for tennessee and then it you and daniel got along so well i never did hear any more about him and i was curious as to what happened with dinow because it seemed like a catalog about shipwrecks command daniel, i moved away and was one of the things but also his mother started today's summit you wanted to be more the man influence in his life and i remember my answer telling me because i was very distraught about it, she said daniel loves you and will find his way back to you. i didn't mention them because they haven't done anything to deserve mention, all the other organizations -- that is nothing against them, some of my best friends are omega's but the allyson kappas have all and the deltas of particular and by me to national convention, i don't just name organizations because there are organizations. these people who i mentioned in my acknowledgements deserve to be mentioned.
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>> welcome home appear in. we said to tell you hello. as long as you have been on an incredible journey and the jury is continuing, what made this journey back home so important incredible for you? >> well, as they try to say there is really no place like,. and i might start to a much more about my experiences that are upcoming in the way it will. i think it's as a lot about me in terms of my growth to the back to the university of arkansas. i couldn't have done this five years ago and i don't know i could have done it two years ago but i can tell you how excited i am two go back there. i'm not going to go up there and teach my class is two days a week and then rushed back to atlanta, i will go back and forth to atlanta but one of the
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things the chancellor and the dean wanted me to do was to become a part of the university community and as one of 22, have a house of there, going to bring some of my writer friends up there and try to be a role model who before not only african-american students spent any student who has a dream and who has gone through some tough times. the letters i am getting are from people from all different diverse backgrounds and that has touched me immensely so this will always be home. no matter where i go where were ever and that i will always be lynn from little rock. any other questions? >> my name is ed the simpson and you might not remember me but you were my -- you are in my history class in early elementary school. [laughter]
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>> i don't remember. >> i remember telling your mother, he is a genius, he is smart and one the other kids want to play lynn it wanted to get his book and read his book wampum and we would have rest time, lynn was ago and a respite never close his eyes. and i said if i get to his book signing at i was if he remembers me. you know it has been a long time ago. [laughter] it is good to see you. you have my blessings command good to see you. that's funny, my mama was always telling -- mama always reminded me i never want to take naps and now on this tour and made them but even as an adult i cannot go to sleep in the daytime. i

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